Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
June 9, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria HarborCats scored four first inning runs and starter Dominic Topoozian spun seven scoreless innings, as the Victoria HarbourCats cruised to a 7-2 win over the Kitsap BlueJackets in West Coast League (WCL) action Tuesday evening at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
Dominic Topoozian was stellar in his first start as a HarbourCat, allowing no runs on six scattered hits in his seven full innings of work (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
It was deja vu for the BlueJackets who, when they made their first appearance in Victoria last season, were dominated by the HarbourCats, losing the first three-game set between the two teams by a combined score of 40-8. The ‘Cats went on to take seven of nine from Kitsap last year and if Tuesday night’s first meeting of 2015 between the two teams is any indication, the HarbourCats will continue that domination this year.
Deja vu all over again: (TOP) Victoria shortstop PJ Floyd puts the tag on Kitsap’s Alex Junior on this steal attempt in the first inning. The two would replay this scenario again in the third (BOTTOM), when Junior was caught stealing for a second time (Photos: Christian J. Stewart / ISN).
Tuesday’s starter Topoozian, made 14 apearances for Fresno State this past season, posting a 1-2 record and a 5.66 ERA. He was nowhere close to that number Tuesday, as he limited the Blue Jackets to no runs and just six scattered hits over his seven innings of work – his longest outing of 2015 – facing just four batters over the minimum and walking just one.
After a rocky first inning, Kitsap starter Nick Mailhot settled down to hold the HarbourCats scoreless over the next four innings (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Topoozian got some help from his defence early, as catcher Jackson Thoreson threw out Kitsap’s Alex Junior twice at second in the first and third innings and shortstop PJ Floyd keyed a big double play in the second.
The HarbourCats scored all of their four first inning runs with two outs, as Kitsap starter Nick Mailhot would retire the first two batters, but then struggle, giving up a walk to Kyle Francis, a single to Chris Fougner – who would then steal second allowing Francis to score – a walk to newcomer Kevin Collard, an RBI single to Jackson Thoreson, and a single to Dane Fujinaka.
Victoria’s Kevin Collard had a successful debut in a HarbourCats uniform, with a pair of hits and a run scored (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
A crucial error, one of three that the BlueJackets would make on the night, would then allow Collard and Thoreson to score and the HarbourCats had the early lead.
Mailhot would settle down after that, keeping the ‘Cats off the board through the rest of his five innings of work, but Victoria would add a pair in the bottom of the sixth and another in the bottom of the seventh off Kitsap relievers Lane Griffen and Josh Fitch respectively, to put the game out of reach.
The defensive play of the night was this catch by Kitsap left fielder Caylen Clardy who snagged this line drive to rob Victoria’s Jackson Thoreson of a hit in the fifth inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
After Victoria’s Josh Walker pitched a scoreless eighth, the BlueJackets would finally get on the board off reliver Mikey Wright in the ninth, as Brett Bautista would walk and Spencer Dunlap would reach on a dropped third strike and then both come in to score, Dunlap on an RBI single from Colby Brown.
That would the extent of the BlueJackets rally however and Wright would induce Caylen Clardy into a groundout to end the game.
Victoria’s offensive attack – 10 hits in total was led by newcomer Collard who had a pair of hits, a walk and two runs scored. Brady Rogers and Dane Fujinaka also had two hit games and PJ Floyd was credited with three RBIs.
Victoria second baseman Brady Rogers would come up with a nice catch of this line drive late in the game Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
For the BlueJackets, Junior, Mitchell Robinson and Dunlap led the way with two hits each. Joe Galindo pitched an inning of scoreless relief in the eighth.
Game two of the set with Kitsap goes Wednesday evening with a 6:35 pm start at RAP. The HarbourCats will send Preston Ryan to the mound while the BlueJackets will respond with Lane Simpson. That is followed by a 1:05 pm matinee affair on Thursday on School Spirit Day.
The ‘Cats then hit the road for a weekend series in Bend against the Elks and then to Cowlitz for three on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday against the Black Bears.
Game Notes: In addition to Collard, newcomer Kevin Amezquita made his debut in centrefield, going 0-4 with a walk and run scored. The BlueJackets came into Victoria with a 1-2 record, having dropped a series to Bellingham on the weekend. The BlueJackets lost 4-3 and 11-2 before taking the series finale on Sunday with a 3-1 win. The BlueJackets three errors give them 12 on the young season. HarbourCats outfielder Jovan Ewusie has been released. Ewusie saw action in Saturday’s game against Kelowna, going 0-2 with a walk and a strikeout. He did not play Sunday.